"I had a wonderful relationship with my mother; she was the sweetest mom and wife," Denise Thimes said. "She was a very loving and doting mom. I loved my mother to death."
Since 1997, Thimes has dedicated The Denise Thimes & Friends Mother's Day Concert to her late mother, Mildred Thimes, who died of pancreatic cancer.
The concert and Thimes' organization, the Mildred Thimes Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, celebrate her mother's legacy, spread awareness about pancreatic cancer, and memorialize all mothers, especially the deceased who've lost their lives to pancreatic cancer, COVID-19, and other health concerns.
When she learned about her mother's diagnosis, she was on tour in Singapore for a three-month residency, and it was three weeks before the time for her to come back to the states. Instinctively, she jumped into research about cancer when she came home. She searched for information about its cause, and other factors that could impact outcomes, including eating habits.
Thimes being a woman of faith, didn't let the doctors' claims that her mother only had six months to live to break her. Instead, she used it as fuel and motivation to host the show for her mother to see her perform for the last time.
This Sunday marks the 25th anniversary of The Denise Thimes & Friends Mother's Day Concert, and it remains an annual staple for Thimes, who said the event has allowed her not to be sad while grieving but instead encourage others whose mothers have passed away.
"That first Mother's Day without my mom was hard, and as I continued doing the concerts, it allowed me to get my mind off the sadder things," Thimes said. "I began encouraging others who've lost their moms because that first year is tough. Sometimes people may not want to get out of bed. Even though they may not feel like coming to a concert or doing anything, I hope this event engages them and teaches them how to celebrate their mothers."
Thimes sincerely empathizes with the aftermath of COVID-19 and how it affects us all, especially mothers and their children.
"There are children today who cannot celebrate Mother's Day or who will not be able to celebrate their mothers because COVID has taken their lives," Thimes said. "Like any other day and every day, I don't take it for granted because we are still in a pandemic. I am grateful that God gives me the nod to celebrate the 25th anniversary in 2022 because it allows us to praise the mothers here and the mothers in spirit."
Thimes will perform several selections in a tribute to the late Phyllis Hyman. Many have compared the likeness and singing abilities of the two.
"As a young artist coming up in the business, I was always told I looked and sounded like Phyllis Hyman," Thimes said. "I remember doing my first tribute to her, and people went crazy; it was at the Sheldon Concert Hall.
Then I did it again three years later, and it was the same wonderful outpour. The audience loved the performance. I thought her music was a good choice for Mother's Day because her songs speak to women in all areas of life, especially love and relationships."
Thimes will perform one of her personal favorites from Hyman, "Old Friend," which she is dedicating to a dear friend who passed away a few months ago.
Guests can see her and featured special guest, local rising jazz artist Robert Nelson perform Sunday, May 8, at Touhill Performing Arts Center'sAnheuser-Busch Performance Hall located at 1 University Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63121.
A buffet dinner is available 3-5 p.m. The concert follows starting at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available for the show only and the dinner and concert together.
Tickets are available for purchase through MetroTix by calling 314-534-1111 or online https://www.metrotix.com/events/detail/evening-with-denise-thimes. Tickets are also available at Afro World at 7276 Natural Bridge Rd, St. Louis, MO 63121, or by calling 314-474-0151.